After spending a glorious four days in the French Riviera, I finally understood what all the fuss was about. With beaches, great food and French charm, if I lived in Europe, it would probably be my favorite getaway destination as well.
As I mentioned before, we really didn’t do much in Nice, but after moving around every two days in Italy, it was nice to finally slow down and relax. Our time there was mainly unplanned and what we did each day was spontaneous, which allowed us to really enjoy Nice for what it is.
Here are some of my favorite moments from Nice:
Watching the sun change the color of the Mediterranean
A few of our days in Nice were rainy, which also played a part in us slowing down and relaxing, but that meant that the Mediterranean just looked dull and gray. Needless to say I just wasn’t that impressed.
However, upon walking out of a restaurant for lunch, we finally caught the sun shining and the color of the water changed so drastically, I couldn’t believe. I grabbed my camera and ran over to ogle at the crystal water. Now that’s idyllic!
Exploring the markets
Cours Saleya is lined with some of the most famous markets in the region. From giant blooms to organic produce, I loved just wandering through the market enjoying the local atmosphere and products.
Strolling through the Old Town
Much like the Old Towns in Munich, Prague and elsewhere across Europe, the Old Town in Nice was filled with history and culture. I loved getting lost in the maze of cute boutiques and cafes. This was the romantic atmosphere I had been hoping to find in Paris, but I guess I just needed to head further south!
Heading up to Castle Hill
We debated whether we would bother visiting Castle Hill, but when the weather decided to clear up we knew we’d better go. The views really were as good as people say. From all directions it gave beautiful views over Nice. Plus with its cute little parks, it seemed like the perfect spot to bring a baguette and a bottle of wine to for a nice picnic.
The drive to Monaco
Going to Monaco in itself was a memorable experience, and the ride there was certainly part of the fun! Winding along the coastline we were treated to views of other small towns along the French Riviera.
Indulging in food
The food in Nice was incredible. Not only were there different regional specialties to try, but I also loved the Italian influences. Pizza, gnocchi, bruschetta? Yes please!
The Battle of the Change
Since Nice was our second to last stop on our grand tour of Europe, by then we had accumulated tons of coins. No one would seem to accept coins as payment, even for water in convenience stores!
We decided we needed to try hard to get rid of it, so when our bill came at a local restaurant, we thought it would be the perfect opportunity. Handing the waiter the tray he laughed when he saw all the change. We paid the exact amount needed so he could simply bring us our change in the form of a euro note.
Instead, he brought the tray back to us, again, laughing, and had left all of the coins– and brought our additional change in coins. We just couldn’t win.
To continue the battle, we simply left all of the change on the table as his tip and quickly ran off, hearing him yelling behind us!
Riding the tourist bus around town
I loved getting to relax and ride around the city. The bus went high up into the hills on the outskirts of Nice, somewhere I never would have made it to on my own. It was fun getting to see the city from a higher vantage point– although one of the ladies on our bus got smacked by low-lying a tree branch while we were on it!
Finding serenity at the monastery
Recommended to us by the PR rep at the tourism office, we almost didn’t stop at Cimiez Monastery. It was sort of a last minute decision and since the tourist bus stopped there, we quickly hopped off at the spur of the moment.
Boy are we glad we did. Surrounded by beautiful gardens, there was no one around. This was one of the most peaceful places in all of Nice and the views looking out over the city were stunning.
Watching the city come alive at night
Nice certainly has its charm during the day, but there was just something about the colors of the city at night that got me. Wandering around the Massena Square watching the glow of the fountains and the luminous seven statues above, there was just something magical about it.
While none of these moments are really monumental by any means, but they’re still special for me. It was the little things that really made Nice stand out as a destination and made me want to return someday.
By the end of my trip I was questioning as to whether Paris was really the most romantic city in Europe.
Because it might actually be Nice…
Have you been to Nice before? What did you think of the French Riviera?
Thank you to the Office du Tourisme et des Congrès de Nice Côte d’Azur for helping me plan my time in Nice and providing us with the tourist bus passes.